Son of Steak, Nottingham : Restaurant Review.
A few weeks ago I was invited to check out Son of Steak, Nottingham, the ‘new kid’ on the hippest block in town for restaurants and bars, Trinity Square. The invitation to the taster evening at this new ‘concept’ steakhouse was a ‘plus one’ event too, so I earned major ‘wifey’ points when I invited Mr T to join me in sampling the menu.
Mr T is a meat lover. In fact, he’s a Carnivore with a capital C: He absolutely loves steak. So it’s not surprising he bit my hand off, (not literally! I said ‘carnivore’ not ‘cannibal’), when I asked him if he fancied joining me for a steak dinner or three.
Mr T and I were looking forward to our night out sampling the atmosphere, Mojitos and food at Son of Steak. To be honest, we were looking to a night out, FULL STOP. You’ll know from my earlier post, (Even couples with kids need a date night: Top 10 tips for busy parents) it isn’t always easy to carve out some time together when you have kids. That’s why our Son of Steak date night would be super-special, because a) we’d actually going ‘out’ b) we’d be eating in a new restaurant before our friends did c) we’d be sampling most of the food and drink on the menu d) we’d be eating steak.
We were most excited about d), the prospect of eating steak. We both love steak. Unfortunately, despite many, many attempts, I’m rubbish at cooking it. Plus, when we dine out, we rarely choose steak. That’s because we tend to go to family pubs and restaurants with the kids, where ordering steak is too much of a risk: you can’t guarantee the quality of the meat or that they’ll cook it ‘just the way you like it’. When we do ‘dine in style’ in places where you’re confident they’ll get things right, steak’s usually the most expensive thing on the menu, so we still don’t order it!
Son of Steak is born.
Son of Steak’s parent company, Mitchell and Butlers, own the Harvester chain of restaurants. In fact, up until last month, this venue was a Harvester Restaurant. However, the owners spotted an opportunity to bring a new ‘fast, casual steak concept’ to the marketplace, starting with their first branch, Son of Steak, in the heart of Nottingham.
It’s time for a revolution – a revolution of doing things simply. A revolution of doing things properly. Son of Steak is the next generation of steak. Forget all the fuss… focus on the flavour. Because there’s no need to stress when you have great tasting steak on your plate. At Son of Steak, you’ll find an innovative, relaxed steak haven – all new to Nottingham. Son of Steak website.
The idea of a casual style steak house offering affordable, high-quality food is an interesting concept. There’s certainly a gap in the market for a specialist steak restaurant in Nottingham, (Soulville Steakhouse being one of the only other contenders in the City Centre).
Needless to say, when our date at Son of Steak finally arrived we were eager to see if it could provide the answer to our steak dilemma. Could Son of Steak deliver great quality steak, cooked just the way we like it, at an affordable price?
Our Son of Steak experience.
When Mr T and I arrived at Son of Steak, a friendly waitress welcomed us with their signature Mojito cocktail and a selection of nibbles from the menu, including gourmet popcorn and chilli puffs. Their classic take on the Bacardi-based cocktail, served in a sturdy tumbler filled with ice and garnished with lime and mint leaves, tasted as good as it looked…And it looked good!
It’s hard to believe this was the same place we tucked into our Harvester all you can eat salad cart and spitroast chicken a few months earlier. In fact, as we looked around at the reinvented venue, there were no clues to its former identity.
I loved the industrial/rustic fusion of the interior decor, with its blend of metal, wood and corrugated steel. Customers chatted in booths lit by industrial style pendant lights. In fact, the entire restaurant was bathed in their warm, cosy glow.
I absorbed every aspect of the decor, admiring the details and some of the more ‘off the wall’ elements. I loved the mounted ‘cattle heads’ made from bicycle seats and handlebars and the neon sign in the shape of a cow, fixed to a wall of corrugated steel.
After Mojitos and nibbles, we were invited to sample the starters. Had I known just how many more menu items we’d be sampling during the evening, I’d have paced myself a little better! Nevertheless, as the courses kept coming, I made a valiant attempt to try everything.
First on the menu for our Son of Steak taster evening were a couple of the potato hash dishes from their Brunch menu: smoked streaky bacon, onion and spinach potato hash topped with a fried free range egg, and red pepper, onion and spinach topped with smashed avocado. If I’m honest, these fried potato dishes were a little too greasy for me and didn’t have enough flavour or seasoning to justify the high-calorie count.
Next came the menu items we’d all been waiting to sample, the 28-day aged steaks. If Son of Steak wanted to carve a niche for itself as a meat lovers paradise, they had to get it right. They certainly delivered! First was the medium rare flat-iron Lomito steak (from the tenderest part of the rump), served on a slate platter and cut into strips. If medium rare isn’t your thing, Son of Steak will cook your steak however you like it and judging from the one we tried, and I’m confident they’ll get it right.
The flat-iron steak looked delicious. It was lean and perfectly pink, with a beautiful seared and salt-rubbed exterior. I have to say, it’s one of the best steaks I’ve tasted, with the deliciously naughty beef dripping gravy adding to the experience. Cooked to perfection, the 8oz flat-iron steak was juicy and succulent, practically melting in my mouth. Unbelievably, the 8oz offering only costs £7.20, and although the delicious handcut chips are extra, it’s still a bargain for such a choice cut of meat.
Next up was the 80z Josper, seared and finished in the Josper charcoal oven and served with a crumb of Maldon sea salt. The Josper is available in 3 cuts: Lomito (tenderest part of rump), Picanha (top rump) and sirloin. Again, this lean cut of steak was served sliced and on a slate with beef dripping gravy. If beef dripping gravy isn’t your thing, there are plenty of free sauces and relishes to choose from. What can I say? Mr T and I can testify that the Josper is another top quality steak: unbelievably succulent, nicely seasoned and full of flavour.
Next, we were treated to a medley of their standard and gourmet side dishes, including: flat mushrooms, hand cut chips, crispy onion loaf, mac’n’cheese and crushed sweet potato. We also sampled the raw salad and avocado caesar salad. The dishes were certainly a change from the usual side-order fayre and a welcome change, at that. The flat mushrooms, in particular, were deliciously juicy, cooked to perfection and bursting with flavour. The handcut chips were spot on, not too greasy and just the right blend of ‘crispy outside and fluffy inside’.The salads were colourful, tasty and well-presented too. That said, I wasn’t as impressed by the crispy onion loaf, which looked more like a smushed onion bhaji and was a little too greasy for my palate.
And if you don’t want steak?
As if we weren’t already full to bursting, the waitresses brought out the rest of the main course menu items to finish us off! This comprised maple glazed chicken, aged beef burgers and their take on Taiwanese street food, the Bao bun.
Although I didn’t try the chicken, the charcoal cooked dish looked tempting with its maple glaze and scattering of sesame seeds. Those who still had some room to try it said it was tender and juicy, offering a tasty non-steak alternative.
Sadly, the burger was a big disappointment. For a start, it just didn’t look very appetising. The beef patty resembling a charred rather than chargrilled nugget of meat, lost in the middle of an oversized open bun. It was garnished with a large thickly sliced beef tomato and a salad leaf. If you could see past the burger’s lacklustre presentation, things didn’t get much better. The meat was overcooked and wasn’t very tasty.
Although we’d been looking forward to trying the bao buns, these doughy, Taiwanese-style buns made from rice flour, had a mixed reception. The buns are filled with crispy vegetables, cucumber, red chilli, soy and Yakiniku sauces with a choice of steak, hand pulled chicken or mushroom. I’m afraid I’m not a fan of this Asian take on the humble sandwich. Perhaps, it was the sauce, perhaps it was the fact the one I sampled was cold. Others in our group liked them. However, if I was paying for a meal out, I probably wouldn’t be adventurous enough to try one anyway.
If you’re looking for New York Cheesecake, Sticky Toffee Pudding and Eton Mess, you’ll be disappointed. Son of Steak’s dessert menu consists of frozen yoghurt, chocolate mousse and chocolate chip cookies. However, this appears to be a deliberate decision and I think Son of Steak has made a good call. The menu should play to its strengths and focus on the meat: it’s all about the steak, not the cake. So if you’ve still got room for dessert after tucking into your starters, mains and side dishes, then you can always pop to the speciality pudding venue just around the corner.
Room for improvement.
There’s certainly room for improvement at Son of Steak, with the burgers being the biggest disappointment of the evening. However, despite the shortcomings of the ‘supporting acts’, the steak is so staggeringly good, the deficiencies of some dishes aren’t a ‘deal breaker’, rather they’re a ‘must do better.’ With this in mind, if I could offer one piece of advice, it would be to reconsider the burgers, or drop them from the menu completely. After all, with Gourmet Burger Kitchen next door, it’s hardly a fair fight.
Son of Steak : The verdict.
Burgers aside, Son of Steak made good on its promise, giving us a taste of good quality steak, expertly cooked, at an affordable price. The quality doesn’t end with the aged flat-iron steak or the mighty Josper, either. It’s evident in the glazed chicken, the hand cut chips, the beef dripping gravy and the marvellous mojitos. The imaginative interior decor was a bonus too, with the rustic wood and bare filament lights adding warmth and cosiness to the industrial-style fixtures and fittings.
Son of Steak scratches an itch, finally filling a yawning gap in the Nottingham restaurant scene with a speciality steak house, dedicated to serving the choicest cuts of beef, cooked just the way you like them. At last, steak-lovers can enjoy a casual dining experience without the casual attitude to quality and taste. They may not have everything right yet, but they’ve succeeded in delivering delicious high-quality steaks, cooked to perfection, at a price you can afford. That’s why price-conscious steak-lovers like me and Mr T, will be returning to Son of Steak again, and again and again.
Find out more about Son of Steak: HERE.